The Real Women of Surprise!
by Tracey Lyons
The one big question we authors always get asked is, “Where do you get your ideas for your characters?” Most times I will say that they just sort of come to me. And since I write historicals they usually come to me in some form of a persona from the mid-to late 1800’s. But when I started developing the concept for my Women of Surprise series two things became apparent. The books had to be set in the real life small Catskill NY Mountain town of Surprise and the three female heroines had to be based on my sisters and myself.
Now it’s not that I’m vain, but let’s face it, every writer has a little bit of themselves in each book they write.
The short synopsis for the Women of Surprise is simple. And here is where I took a bit of creative license. The three female heroines are cousins who arrive in the dying town of Surprise at the behest of their Aunt Margaret, who along with her long since deceased husband, founded the town of Surprise a long time ago. Margaret has plans to bring the town back to life and needs her nieces help in getting the job done.
A Surprise For Abigail is my book. The main character is a feisty, young woman who isn’t afraid to go against convention. Her task is a bit unorthodox for the time; she is the town’s sheriff. And she doesn’t take trouble from anyone least of all the hero of the story who ends up locked up in one of her jail cells. I don’t know if I’d ever take on the job of sheriff anywhere, but people who know me tell me I’m not afraid to speak my mind!
Lydia’s Passion is my oldest sister, Linda’s, book. Lydia is the school teacher for the town of Surprise. She is a lover of life and all things fun! Her students love this, but the head of school board, Alexander Judson, feels she needs to be more serious in the classroom. This creates all sorts of problems for Lyida! My sister Linda is a social being. She knows everyone in her small town, has lived there her entire life and is happy as a clam! Though my sister has never in her life been a teacher, this character took on her lighthearted personality elements and worked them to the fullest!
Making Over Maggie is my middle sister, Patty’s book. Maggie is sort of uptight. I’m not saying my sister, Patty is uptight, she’s not….really. She’s very routine and has a very kind heart. I took one facet of my sister’s personality and blew it out of proportion with Maggie. This character’s task is to bring an old saloon back to life by turning it into a dance hall. She runs up against a con man who turns her small town life upside down. I don’t know of any con men in my sister’s life, although she might tell you otherwise!
I really enjoyed writing the Women of Surprise series. Whether or not I’ll use more family members as characters in one of my books…well we’ll just have to wait and see.
Author Bio: I really wanted to be an actress, but stage fright kept me from continuing along that path. I started writing almost three decades ago and sold my first book on 9/9/99! My books are now available in several languages, in digital, hardcover and paperback formats. When I’m not writing I enjoy my life in a lovely little downstate New York village with my husband, two dogs and our backyard chickens. I invite you to stop by my website at www.traceylyons.com to learn more about the Women of Surprise series and my other writing projects. You can find the newly released Kindle format editions of The Women of Surprise at www.amazon.com.